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May 31, 2019

Each month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin shines a light on the relationships that we are helping build within our community. Please help us congratulate Tony Bisterfeldt and his Little Brother Jorel, both of Shawano — our Shawano County Match of the Month for June. 

Where did you hear about Big Brothers Big Sisters?

Tony: I heard about BBBS from my wife, who works with the program in Shawano. She had a lot of kids who were waiting to be matched and also had a special need for male mentors. I decided to volunteer in the site-based program.

Why did you want to become involved?

T: I wanted to become involved because I saw a need for more mentors and several kids who were waiting for a match. I thought I would help out too. I enjoy kids and am involved in other mentoring activities, such as coaching, so decided this could be something I could do as well.

Why did you want to have a Big Brother or Big Sister?

Jorel: Because I wanted to play sports and having someone to teach me more about sports is important to me.

What do you do when you spend time together?

J: We eat lunch together and then go play basketball and football. We sometimes play in the gym or go outside on the playground and get a game going with other kids at school.

What do you do when you spend time together?

T: We get together every Thursday at Olga Brener School over the lunch hour. We eat lunch together and then go play sports somewhere – usually on the playground. It is fun because other kids often will get involved and we will get a basketball or football game going. I enjoy playing sports and I feel that kids can learn great lessons from sportsmanship. Plus, it helps to do some physical activities in the middle of the day!

Is there something in particular that stands out as a memorable time with your Big?

J: One time, when Tony and I were tossing a football around in the school gym, Tony decided to try to toss the football through the basketball hoop from three quarters across the court. He threw it and got it right into the net. I couldn’t believe it! Other kids saw it and everyone thought it was really cool.

Is there something in particular that stands out as a memorable time with your Little?

T: I think overall any time I see Jorel’s growth in his social skills, I really feel like I am making an impact. He is more confident than when we first met and is more comfortable in our friendship. That is what will always be most memorable to me.

Is there something in the future that you would like to do together, or that you look forward to experiencing together?

J: We only meet at school as we are site based. I would really love it if Tony could take me fishing, though. Maybe someday we can do that together.

Is there something in the future that you would like to do together, or that you look forward to experiencing together?

T: I would love to be able to do something outside of school one day. We have talked about fishing or doing some other type of activity, such as going to watch a basketball or football game. For now, our shared weekly lunch breaks are fun and we find plenty to do during those!

What have you learned from your Big?

J: Tony has taught me about sportsmanship, getting along well with others and how to have confidence in myself.

What have you enjoyed about being a Big?

T: I really enjoy making a difference in a kid’s life. It is fun and gets me out playing sports, which I probably otherwise wouldn’t do as much…at least not on my lunch break. Getting to know Jorel has been a great experience and I look forward to our weekly visits.

How has being matched with a Big made a difference to you?

J: Tony is nice to me and we have fun. He is funny too. Seeing him makes me happy and has helped me to improve in sports!

In what way has being matched with your Little affected you and your life?

T: Meeting Jorel has been fun as it has connected me to a great kid who likes to do many of the same things I like to do. Every time I leave the school after spending our lunch together, I feel really good about it. I enjoy being a good role model and like to play and be a big kid at the same time. This gives me the chance to do both. My time with Jorel reminds me of what it is like to be a kid!’

What would you say to others about Big Brothers Big Sisters and to others who are thinking about becoming a Big?

T: I would say that it is easier than you think. It may seem like a big commitment, but it really isn’t. You can make a huge difference for a kid in just one hour a week. There are so many kids always waiting to be matched, it is a very simple and fun way to give back.